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Secretary of Education Decision to Benefit 800+ College Career-Training Programs


Betsy DeVos, the United States Secretary of Education for the Trump Administration, has recently announced that the Department of Education (DOE) plans to undo or loosen regulations currently held over college career-training programs. Some parties are concerned that change in regulations will ultimately negatively impact university students seeking career paths.

DeVos’s proposed changes will allow a career-training program to contest a Department of Education assessment that deemed the program inefficient. In other words, if the DOE finds a program is not actually preparing students for future careers, the administrators of that program will now be able to contest that finding. The controversial part of this decision that is catching news headlines is that the programs can use data that they collect in their challenges. Opponents of the decision believe that a program could easily falsify information to make it look like they are meeting regulation requirements, which would both not prepare students for the future and arguably waste taxpayer money.

Previous Regulations Find 800+ Programs Inefficient

The Obama Administration implemented rules that required no more than 20% of a career-training program’s discretionary income, or 8% of all of its annual earnings, come from graduate student loans. Failing to meet this requirement consistently could strip the program of federal funding. Using its own guidelines, the Department of Education during the Obama Administration cited 800+ such programs, most of which were part of a for-profit college, as not satisfying the rules.

The changes spurred on by DeVos will extend both the amount time a program has to become compliant and the amount of time it can file an appeal against a DOE assessment. Programs that file an appeal will not need to warn students of the negative assessment until the appeal is resolved again and out of favor of the program. The 800-odd programs that were shunned by the Obama Administration DOE could potentially use the new leniency to regain DOE approval without making many changes to its own inner workings.

Growing Concerns of Student Loan Debt

Without effective career-training programs at colleges and universities, it goes to reason that the average student will be ill-prepared to find gainful employment after receiving their diploma or certificate. Scouring the job market without success will make repaying student loan debts more and more difficult as time goes on. The trend could eventually throw a generation of new students towards the edge of bankruptcy. However, since student loan debt is often non-dischargeable in bankruptcy cases, the problem on the horizon is even greater than it seems at a cursory glance. This possibility of a torrent of students in debt and out of work is the driving force behind opposition to DeVos’s changes.

MarketWatch recently posted an article about this news story, which you can view for more information by clicking here. If you are a student struggling with loan debts, Atlas Consumer Law and our Chicago bankruptcy and consumer attorneys might be able to help. We have successfully eliminated more than one billion dollars of debt for our clients, secured millions in recoveries for clients, and have helped thousands of clients find a fresh start for a better financial future. Give yourself the legal support you deserve by contacting our firm today.